Confined Space Guide

All employees must follow confined space procedures prior to entering into permit required confined spaces.

Permit Required Confined Space
Any space that is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter the space and perform assigned work, and has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
Permit Required Confined Space Requiring Rescue Equipment (lifeline, harness, tripod, etc.)
A confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics:
  • Contains, or has the potential to contain, a hazardous atmosphere.
  • Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant.
  • Has an internal layout such as that someone entering could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or a smaller cross-section.
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
Non-Permit Required Confined Space
Any space, which is completely free of hazards and can be so proven without entering the space. The entrant must be a qualified person and would be able to work alone with no safety attendant required.
If it can be proven that hazards can be eliminated or removed through preventative measures (i.e. ventilation of space, forced air feed, lockout/tagout, etc.) then the rescue equipment will not be required. This will be determined by Environmental Health and Safety.
A confined space includes, but is not limited to storage tanks, vessels, sub-cellars, bins, pits, boilers, sewers or underground utility vaults. A confined space can also be open-topped, especially if it is four feet or more in depth.
Applicable University Policy
EH&S Policy 1-6: Confined Space (in Adobe PDF format)
Summary of Requirements
Four Major Hazards
  1. Oxygen deficiency (19.5%) and enrichment (23.5%)
  2. Fires and explosion
  3. Toxics in the air
  4. Physical hazards (engulfment, entrapment, mechanical, etc.)
Key People
Supervisor
  • Provides all required information on permit.
  • Contacts EH&S for authorization and review.
  • Provides a copy of the permit to EH&S at start of job. Return permit at completion of job.
  • Reviews entry requirements with entrants and attendants.
  • Ensure that the permit requirements are accomplished.
  • Post permit nearby confined space.
  • Supervise the confined space operations to ensure that conditions remain consistent with requirements.
Entrants and Attendants
Employees whose work requires them to enter a confined space or be an attendant must be designated as confined space qualified.
Qualified Entrant
  • Must be trained and familiar with components of the training.
  • Be able to ensure that special requirements are met.
  • Understand environmental testing acceptable results.
  • Know the hazards associated with the space and their effects.
  • Properly use the required PPE and other equipment required for entry.
  • Maintain a continuous means of communication with the attendant.
  • Alert the attendant in the event of an emergency.
  • Evaluate the space if an emergency occurs.
Qualified Attendant
A confined space qualified attendant must be in position at all times, outside of the confined space, while workers are in the confined space.
Under no circumstances is the attendant to enter the confined space unless they are equipped for emergency rescue and there is a qualified person to take their place as attendant.
  • Must be trained to know the hazards associated with the confined space and their hazards.
  • Maintain an accurate account of all persons in the space.
  • Remain at their assigned station until relieved by another qualified attendant or until all entrants leave the confined space.
  • Know how, and have the means, to summon emergency assistance.
  • Be able to order the workers out of a confined space if:
    • Hazardous conditions exceed those set by the permit.
    • An unexpected hazard presents itself.
    • Workers in confined space show signs of toxic reaction.
    • A situation occurs outside the confined space that could pose a hazard to the workers.
    • If attendant must leave the area.
  • Perform non-entry rescue procedures.
The Permit
  • All information must be filled out accurately by supervisor.
  • All special requirements must be noted on the permit.
  • A copy of permit must be given to EH&S at the start of the job and returned upon completion.
  • Environmental monitoring is required prior to entry, when shift goes beyond 8 hours and/or when conditions change that warrant additional monitoring.
Applicable Regulations

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